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LOGAN, Utah -Utah State's defense dictated the action in Tuesday's scrimmage at Romney Stadium, the Aggies' second and final scrimmage of the season.
"We shortened the scrimmage down intentionally tonight. We were at about 90 snaps instead of about 120 last time," USU head coach Brent Guy said. "We worked on a lot of different situations that we really need to work on."
The game situation portion of the scrimmage opened with a 34-yard run by senior RB Aaron Lesue (Fallon, Nev./Churchill County HS/Dixie State College), but that was the offense's biggest play of the day.
The defense kept the offense out of the end zone, as the only touchdown scored was senior WR/KR Kevin Robinson's (Fresno, Calif./Hoover HS) 90-yard kickoff return. Freshman linebacker Kyle Gallagher (Woodland, Calif./Douglass HS) made a huge stop on fourth-and-goal from the one, while fellow linebacker, junior De'von Hall (Reseda, Calif./Cleveland HS) forced a fumble at about the 4-yard line that junior linebacker Daryl Fields (Reseda, Calif./Crespi Carmelite HS) recovered.
"The offense started off a lot better tonight. I thought they ran the ball a lot better and moved the ball down the field, and finished those drives. I felt that they came back and competed a lot better against the first team D (defense)," Guy said. "Our defense still continues to turn the ball over, which is good for that group, but our young offensive guys have to hold onto the ball better."
USU's offense managed a 36-yard field goal from freshman kicker Peter Caldwell (Kaysville, Utah/Davis HS) and a 20-yarder from fellow frosh kicker Chris Ulinski (Grass Valley, Calif./Nevada Union HS). Caldwell missed a 40-yarder and Ulinski missed a 29-yarder that both had issues on the snap and hold.
"We put them in a two-minute situation where we needed to get into field goal position. One of the two groups got that done," Guy said. "We went live tonight on field goals, so that's why there were some bad snaps and holds. We've got to work on that this week."
Additional defense highlights included a sack each by junior defensive end Bevan Howard (Scotsdale, Ariz./Saguaro HS) and freshman linebacker Tim Wlodarczyk (Grand Prairie, Texas/South Grand Prairie HS). Junior linebacker Jake Hutton (Pocatello, Idaho/Highland HS), Sophomore defensive end Darby Golden (6-1, 246, Lakewood, Calif./Lakewood HS), junior strong safety Roy Hurst (Oakland, Calif./Castlemont HS/Santa Rosa JC) and sophomore safety James Brindley (Grass Valley, Calif./Nevada Union HS) all had tackles for loss as well.
On the offense side of the ball, Lesue ended with 10 carries for 65 yards, while freshman running back Curtis Marsh (Simi Valley, Calif./Royal HS/Naval Academy) had 11 rushes for 45 yards.
USU's quarterback situation remained a toss-up, with senior incumbent Leon Jackson III (Long Beach, Calif./Poly HS), junior transfer Sean Setzer (Portland, Ore./Wilson HS/Garden City JC) and sophomore Jase McCormick (Layton, Utah/Northridge HS) all battling.
McCormick was 7-7 passing for 38 yards, while Setzer was 5-6 for 20 yards and Jackson was 2-3 for 17 yards. Setzer had 25 yards rushing on three scampers, while Jackson had two carries for eight yards and McCormick rushed four times for five yards.
Guy and his staff will try to clear up the quarterback and reach a decision for a starter for the Aggies' home and season-opener against UNLV next Thursday, Aug. 30 at 6:05 p.m. at Romney Stadium.
"We saw some stuff, and we're going to watch the film and evaluate everything and make a decision at quarterback and announce that tomorrow," Guy said. "We're not looking for the guy who can win the game by himself, we're looking for the guy who won't lose the game."
The decision for that "guy" will be a tough one for Guy and his staff.
"They all have assets that we can use, so we've got to sit down as an offensive staff and everybody's got to have input and we've got to make a decision," Guy said. "It doesn't mean that that guy is going to be the starter all year either. It's all going to be based on performance. That'll be the guy that starts the game, but it doesn't mean that its the guy we end the season with."
USU begins the season against UNLV on Thursday, Aug. 30 in a 6:05 p.m. kickoff at Romney Stadium.
After road games at Wyoming on Sept. 8 and Oklahoma on Sept. 15, the Aggies return for Homecoming 2007 on Sept. 22, hosting San Jose State. USU then faces in-state rival Utah on Sept. 29 at Salt Lake City, followed by a game at Hawai'i on Oct. 6. The Aggies then have three home dates in a four game span, opening with Nevada on Oct. 20, followed by Louisiana Tech on Oct. 27. After going to Fresno State on Nov. 3, USU's home finale is on Nov. 10 with Boise State. The regular-season concludes with games at New Mexico State and Idaho on Nov. 17 and 24, respectively.
USU, which was picked eighth entering its third season in the WAC, was 1-11 overall and 1-7 in WAC play last year, finishing tied for eighth after being picked seventh in both of last season's preseason media and coaches' polls.